|February 16, 2017
Proposed “Montana Heritage Day” tabled
HELENA — House Bill 322, carried by Rep. Bridget Smith (D-Wolf Point) proposing the Columbus Day holiday be renamed Montana Heritage Day, was blocked in the House State Administration Committee.
Smith brought the bill to better celebrate the state’s indigenous populations, rather than the actions of Christopher Columbus. Lawmakers initially suggested calling the holiday Indigenous People’s Day, as has been done in other states, but instead chose to be inclusive of all Montana’s people.
“We all come from a different heritage that should be respected and acknowledged,” said Rep. Susan Webber (D-Browning). “Columbus committed a great many atrocities against the Native people. The people he came in first contact with are extinct because of what he did.”
The committee voted to table the bill, effectively killing it.